Reading Comprehension = 55 minutes total
In this section you will read several passages. Each 1 is followed by several questions. You are to choose the 1 best answer, A, B, C or D, to each question.
Questions 1 - 12
The technology of the North American colonies did not differ
strikingly from that of Europe, but in one respect, the colonists
enjoyed a great advantage. Especially by comparison with
Britain, Americans had a wonderfully plentiful supply of wood.
The first colonists did not, as many people imagine, find an
entire continent covered by a climax forest. Even along the
Atlantic seaboard, the forest was broken at many points.
Nevertheless, all sorts of fine trees abounded, and through the
early colonial period, those who pushed westward encountered new
forests. By the end of the colonial era, the price of wood had
risen slightly in eastern cities, but wood was still extremely
The availability of wood brought advantages that have seldom
been appreciated. Wood was a foundation of the economy. Houses
and all manner of buildings were made of wood to a degree unknown
in Britain. Secondly, wood was used as a fuel for heating and
cooking. Thirdly, it was used as the source of important
industrial compounds, such as potash, an industrial alkali;
charcoal, a component of gunpowder; and tannic acid, used for
The supply of wood conferred advantages but had some negative
aspects as well. Iron at that time was produced by heating iron
ore with charcoal. Because Britain was so stripped of trees, she
was unable to exploit her rich iron mines. But the American
colonies had both iron are and wood; iron production was
encouraged and became successful. However, when Britain developed
coke smelting, the colonies did not follow suit because they had
plenty of wood and besides, charcoal iron was stronger than coke
iron. Coke smelting led to technological innovations and was
linked to the emergence of the Industrial Revolution. In the
early nineteenth century, the former colonies lagged behind
Britain in industrial development because their supply of wood
led them to cling to charcoal iron.
1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) The advantages of using wood in the colonies
(B) The effects of an abundance of wood on the colonies
(C) The roots of the Industrial Revolution
(D) The difference between charcoal iron and coke iron
2. The word "strikingly" in line 2 is closest in meaning to
3. Which of the following is a common assumption about the forests of North America during the colonial period?
(A) They contained only a few types of trees.
(B) They existed only along the Atlantic seaboard.
(C) They had little or no economic value.
(D) They covered the entire continent.
4. The use of the word "abounded" in line 8 indicates that the trees were
(A) present in large numbers
(B) restricted to certain areas
(C) cut down
5. According to the passage, by the end of the colonial period, the price of wood in eastern cities
(A) rose quickly because wood was becoming so scarce
(B) was much higher than it was in Britain
(C) was slightly higher than in previous years
(D) decreased rapidly because of lower demand for wood
6. What can be inferred about houses in Britain during the period written about in the passage?
(A) They were more expensive than American houses.
(B) They were generally built with imported materials.
(C) They were typically smaller than homes in North America.
(D) They were usually built from materials other than wood.
7. Why does the author mention gunpowder in line 19?
(A) To illustrate the negative aspects of some industrial processes
(B) To give an example of a product made with wood
(C) To remind readers that the Colonial era ended in warfare
CD) To suggest that wood was not the only important product of the Colonies
8. The word "conferred" in line 21 is closest in meaning to
9. The phrase "follow suit" in line 27 means
(A) do the same thing
(B) make an attempt
(C) have the opportunity
(D) take a risk
10. According to the passage, why was the use of coke smelting advantageous?
(A) It led to advances in technology.
(B) It was less expensive than wood smelting.
(C) It produced a stronger type of iron than wood smelting.
(D) It stimulated the demand for wood.
11. The phrase "cling to" in line 33 is closest in meaning to
(A) try to develop
(C) continue to use
12. Where in the passage does the author begin to discuss in detail the disadvantages that an abundant supply of wood brought to the colonies?
(A) Lines 1-3
(B) Lines 5-7
(C) Lines 13-14
(D) Lines 21-22
The Peales were a distinguished family of American artists.
Charles Willson Peale is best remembered for his portraits of
leading figures of the American Revolution. He painted portraits
of Franklin and Jefferson, and over a dozen of George Washington.
His life-size portrait of his sons Raphaelle and Titian was so
realistic that George Washington reportedly once tipped his hat
to the figures in the picture.
Charles Willson Peale gave up painting in his middle age and
devoted his life to the Peale Museum, which he founded in
Philadelphia. The world's first popular museum of art and natural
science, it featured paintings by Peale and his family as well as
displays of animals in their natural settings. Peale found the
animals himself and devised a method of taxidermy to make the
exhibits more lifelike. The museum's most popular display was
the skeleton of a mastodon-a huge, extinct elephant-which Peale
unearthed on a New York farm in 180l.
Three of Peale's seventeen children were also famous artists.
Raphaelle Peale often painted still lifes of flowers, fruit, and
cheese. His works show the same luminosity and attention to
detail that the works of the Dutch masters show. In the late
eighteenth century, however, portraiture was the rage, and so
Raphaelle Peale found few buyers for his still lifes at the time.
His brother Rembrandt studied under his father and painted
portraits of many noted people, including one of George
Washington. Another brother, Rubens Peale, painted mostly
landscapes and portraits.
James Peale, the brother of Charles Willson Peale, specialized
in miniatures. His daughter Sarah Miriam Peale was probably the
first professional female portrait painter in America.
13. What is the main topic of the passage?
(A) The life of Charles Willson Peale
(B) Portraiture in the 18th century
(C) The Peale Museum
(D) A family of artists
14. The author probably mentions that Washington "tipped his hat to the figures in the painting" (lines 6-7) to indicate that
(A) Charles Willson Peale's painting was very lifelike
(B) Washington respected Charles Willson Peale's work
(C) Washington was friendly with Raphaelle and Titian Peale
(D) the painting of the two brothers was extremely large
15. The word "settings" in line 12 is closest in meaning to which of the following?
16 For which of the following terms does the author give a definition in the second paragraph?
(A) Natural science
17 Which of the following questions about the Peale Museum does the passage NOT supply enough information to answer?
(A) Who found and prepared its animal exhibits?
(B) In what city was it located?
(C) Where did the most popular exhibits come from?
(D) In what year was it founded?
18 The word “unearthed” in line 16 is closest ill meaning to
(B) dug up
(D) looked over
19 Which of the following words could best be substituted for the word "rage" in line 21?
20. According to the passage, Rembrandt Peale and his father both painted
(B) portraits of George Washington
(C) paintings of flowers, fruit, and cheese
(D) pictures of animals
21. Which of the following is NOT one of the children of Charles Willson Peale?
(A) Titian Peale
(B) Rubens Peale
(C) Raphaelle Peale
(D) Sarah Miriam Peale
22. The author's attitude toward the Peales is generally
According to the best evidence gathered by space probes and
astronomers, Mars is an inhospitable planet, more similar to
Earth's Moon than to Earth itself-a dry, stark, seemingly
lifeless world. Mars' air pressure is equal to Earth's at an
altitude of 100,000 feet. The air there is 95% carbon dioxide.
Mars has no ozone layer to screen out the Sun's lethal radiation.
Daytime temperatures may reach above freezing, but because the
planet is blanketed by the mere wisp of an atmosphere, the heat
radiates back into space. Even at the equator, the temperature
drops to -50°C (-60°F) at night. Today there is no liquid water,
although valleys and channels on the surface show evidence of
having been carved by running water. The polar ice caps are made
of frozen water and carbon dioxide, and water may be frozen in
the ground as permafrost.
Despite these difficult conditions, certain scientists believe
that there is a possibility of transforming Mars into a more
Earth-like planet. Nuclear reactors might be used to melt frozen
gases and eventually build up the atmosphere. This in turn could
create a "greenhouse effect" that would stop heat from radiating
back into space. Liquid water could be thawed to form a polar
ocean. Once enough ice has melted, suitable plants could be
introduced to build up the level of oxygen in the atmosphere so
that, in time, the planet would support animal life from Earth
and even permanent human colonies. "This was once thought to be
so far in the future as to be irrelevant," said Christopher
McKay, a research scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration. "But now it's starting to look practical. We
could begin work in four or five decades."
The idea of " terra-forming" Mars, as enthusiasts call it, has
its roots in science fiction. But as researchers develop a more
profound understanding of how Earth's ecology supports life, they
have begun to see how it may be possible to create similar
conditions on Mars. Don't plan on homesteading on Mars any time
soon, though. The process could take hundreds or even thousands
of years to complete, and the cost would be staggering.
23. With which of the following is the passage primarily concerned?
(A) The possibility of changing the Martian environment
(B) The challenge of interplanetary travel
(C) The advantages of establishing colonies on Mars
(D) The need to study the Martian ecology
24. The word "stark" in line 3 is closest in meaning to
25. The word "there" in line 5 refers to
(A) a point 100 miles above the Earth
(B) the Earth's Moon
(D) outer space
26. Which of the following does the author NOT list as a characteristic of the planet Mars that would make colonization difficult?
(A) There is little liquid water.
(B) Daytime temperatures are dangerously high.
(C) The Sun's rays are deadly.
(D) Night time temperatures are extremely low.
27. According to the passage, the Martian atmosphere today consists mainly of
(A) carbon dioxide
(D) water vapor
28. It can be inferred from the passage that the "greenhouse effect" mentioned in line 19 is
(A) the direct result of nuclear reactions
(B) the cause of low temperatures on Mars
(C) caused by the absence of green plants
(D) a possible means of warming Mars
29. The word "suitable" in line 21 is closest in meaning to
30. According to Christopher McKay, the possibility of transforming Mars
(A) could occur only in science fiction stories
(B) will not begin for hundreds, even thousands of years
(C) is completely impractical
(D) could be started in 40 to 50 years
31. As used in line 29, the term "terra-forming" refers to
(A) a process for adapting plants to live on Mars
(B) a means of transporting materials through space
(C) a method of building housing for colonists on Mars
(D) a system of creating Earth-like conditions on other planets
32. The phrase "more profound" in lines 30-31 is closest in meaning to
(B) more practical
(C) more up-to-date
33. According to the article, the basic knowledge needed to transform Mars comes from
(A) the science of astronomy
(B) a knowledge of Earth's ecology
(C) data from space probes
(D) science fiction stories
34. The word "staggering" in line 35 is closest in meaning to
Another critical factor that plays a part in susceptibility to
colds is age. A study done by the University of Michigan School
of Public Health revealed particulars that seem to hold true for
the general population. Infants are the most cold-ridden group,
averaging more than six colds in their first year. Boys have more
colds than girls up to age three. After the age of three, girls
are more susceptible than boys, and teenage girls average three
colds a year to boys' two.
The general incidence of colds continues to decline into
maturity. Elderly people who are in good health have as few as
one or two colds annually. One exception is found among people in
their twenties, especially women, who show a rise in cold
infections, because people in this age group are most likely to
have young children. Adults who delay having children until
their thirties and forties experience the same sudden increase in
The study also found that economics plays an important role.
As income increases, the frequency at which colds are reported in
the family decreases. Families with the lowest income suffer
about a third more colds than families at the upper end. Lower
income generally forces people to live in more cramped quarters
than those typically occupied by wealthier people, and crowding
increases the opportunities for the cold virus to travel from
person to person. Low income may also adversely influence diet.
The degree to which poor nutrition affects susceptibility to
colds is not yet clearly established, but an inadequate diet is
suspected of lowering resistance generally.
35. The paragraph that precedes this passage most probably deals with
(A) minor diseases other than colds
(B) the recommended treatment of colds
(C) a factor that affects susceptibility to colds
(D) methods of preventing colds among elderly people
36. Which of the following is closest in meaning to the word "particulars" in line 3?
(A) Minor errors
(B) Specific facts
(C) Small distinctions
(D) Individual people
37. What does the author claim about the study discussed in the passage?
(A) It contains many inconsistencies.
(B) It specializes in children.
(C) It contradicts the results of earlier studies in the field.
(D) Its results apparently are relevant for the population as a whole.
38. It may be inferred from the passage that which of the following groups of people is most likely to catch colds?
(A) Infant boys
(B) Young girls
(C) Teenage boys
(D) Elderly women
39. There is information in the second paragraph of the passage to support which of the following conclusions?
(A) Men are more susceptible to colds than women.
(B) Children infect their parents with colds.
(C) People who live in a cold climate have more colds than those who live in a warm one.
(D) People who don't have children are more susceptible to colds than those who do.
40. The phrase "people in this age group" (line 13) refers to
(B) people in their twenties
(C) people in their thirties and forties
(D) elderly people
41. The author's main purpose in writing the last paragraph of the passage was to
(A) explain how cold viruses are transmitted
(B) prove that a poor diet causes colds
(C) discuss the relationship between income and frequency of colds
(D) discuss the distribution of income among the people in the study
42. The word "cramped" in line 21 is closest in meaning to
43. The author's tone in this passage could best be described as
About fifty years ago, plant physiologists set out to grow
roots by themselves in solutions in laboratory flasks. The
scientists found that the nutrition of isolated roots was quite
simple. They required sugar and the usual minerals and vitamins.
However, they did not require organic nitrogen compounds. These
roots got along fine on mineral inorganic nitrogen. Roots are
capable of making their own proteins and other organic compounds.
These activities by roots require energy, of course. The process
of respiration uses sugar to make the high energy compound ATP,
which drives the biochemical reactions. Respiration also requires
oxygen. Highly active roots require a good deal of oxygen.
The study of isolated roots has provided an understanding of
the relationship between shoots and roots in intact plants. The
leaves of the shoots provide the roots with sugar and vitamins,
and the roots provide the shoots with water and minerals. In
addition, roots can provide the shoots with organic nitrogen
compounds. This comes in handy for the growth of buds in the
early spring when leaves are not yet functioning. Once leaves
begin photosynthesizing, they produce protein, but only mature
leaves can "export" protein to the rest of the plant in the form
of amino acids.
44. What is the main topic of the passage?
(A) The relationship between a plant's roots and its shoots
(B) What can be learned by growing roots in isolation
(C) How plants can be grown without roots
(D) What elements are necessary for the growth of plants
45. The word "themselves" in line 2 refers to
(A) plant physiologists
(C) laboratory flasks
46. According to the passage, what is ATP?
(A) A biochemical process
(B) The tip of a root
(C) A chemical compound
(D) A type of plant cell
47. The word "intact" in line 13 is closest in meaning to
48. The use of the phrase "comes in handy" in line 17 indicates that the process is
49. It can be inferred from the passage that, in the early spring, the buds of plants
(A) "export" protein in the form of amino acids
(B) do not require water
(C) have begun photosynthesizing
(D) obtain organic compounds from the roots
50. Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
(A) The results of two experiments are compared.
(B) A generalization is made, and several examples of it are given.
(C) The fIndings of an experiment are explained.
(D) A hypothesis is presented, and several means of proving it are suggested.